Quarterly Newsletter

  April 2013 
Greetings fellow youth worker!

Welcome Back to the ACYCP e-newsletter! We've had a few gaps in our production schedule but we believe we are back on track.

The ACYCP Board is striving to keep our members up-to-date with our organization's current projects and activities. In this issue we are bragging on the accomplishments of some of our own members, reporting on past happenings and informing you of upcoming events and activities.

We hope we are starting a new "series" of articles from and about organizations which are encouraging and hiring certified child and youth care workers. Casa Pacifica has started us off with a bang.  Who wants to be next? 

In the next issue will be the Reprise of Karen VanderVen's beloved column, "From The Soap Box" handily entitled, "From The Soap Box...Again". Can't wait!

Although you should thank one everyday, don't forget that Thank a Youth Worker Day is celebrated May 2, 2013.

Suzie Henderson

In This Issue
FICE International Congress
Tootin' Our Horn!
From the Soapbox...Again
More Horn Tootin'
Agencies Supporting Professionalism
Thank A Youth Worker Day!
Insights on The Future
Symposium - A Call for Action
Advocacy and Policy Committee
An International Invitation
FICE invites you to join us for the FICE International Congress (conference) in Bern, Switzerland, October 7-12th, 2013.
The Congress theme is INCLUSION which involves all realms and levels of inclusion.

Participating in our Congress provides opportunities to learn from a high quality program presented by professionals from many countries and to share your interests and expertise. Network with colleagues from countries including European countries, Sout h Africa, India, Kenya, and Israel. Visit programs in area communities. Youth are an integral part of our Congress. This is a time for connecting with our global profession. Learn, contribute and have FUN. See the following sites for information about the FICE Congress and FICE, the international organization sponsoring the Congress:

Tootin' Our Horn!
ACYCP President 
Dr. Andy Munoz has been named Fellow at the American Association for Children's Residential Centers. The award was given at the annual AACRC meeting in New York City with more than 350 members present. The Fellows Award is one of the most prestigious competitions in the country. It is not given every year and goes to a leader who is the recognized expert in the care of vulnerable children.
Way to Go, Andy!
A member of the American Association since 1980, Munoz is one of the most long standing members of the AACRC Board. In the early 1990s he started a tradition which continues to this day. Each year at the AACRC conference the youth workers buy the executive directors breakfast to say thank you for all that they have done and at this gathering ACYCP and AACRC report shared progress on youth worker professional development across the country.

In another seminal set of events organized by Dr. Munoz, ACYCP and AACRC have hosted shared receptions to celebrate the launch of certification. At the time, ACYCP President David Thomas (now at Bryan's House in Texas) and AACRC President Bill Martone (from Hathaway Sycamores) endorsed "full forward progress on certification".

"AACRC is one of our most important partners in the work", commented Munoz as he received the award. "As AACRC has grown to be one of the strongest and most productive membership associations in the country, they have fully embraced the role of youth work as a part of the team along with training coordinators and executive directors". For example, at Casa Pacifica every member of the staff from youth workers to clinicians and executive team are expected to become certified.

Most recently Munoz advocated that AACRC add youth worker professional development to the list of policy papers which need to be written for the field. 

Munoz has long served as a strategic consultant for the growth and development of leading AACRC members including KidsPeace where he collaborated on the model of care which was used in nine states with facilities growing past 100 million; Devereux where he was a part of a team that designed innovative clinical interventions promoting pair therapy, and Bonnie Brae where he contributed to the design of the strength-based therapeutic activities. Munoz also currently chairs the Community Service Board at Holy Family Institute, another leading residential center. 


From the Soapbox...Again
Certainly in these days of technological innovation one does not need an old-fashioned wooden soapbox to leap upon in order to make public one's opinions. A posting on Facebook or a blog are just a few ways to send a message world-wide. 

No matter what means we have of disseminating opinions, the expression of them is a way of keeping our evolving field of child and youth work vital and dynamic. People may agree or disagree. Hopefully, it will get folks talking and goad them into action. 

In the early 2000s, for several years, following an invitation from Child and Youth Care Net (CYC-Net) I published a column I called
"From the Soapbox". In it I identified what I thought were key issues in the field, areas that I thought a "child and youth work approach" could and should address, and at times lauded what seemed a wonderful activity to highlight the value of our work. Among the many topics I addressed were the pitfalls of point and level systems, the perils of early bedtimes, examples of wonderful uses of activities, "off shore" youth centers, kind and nurturing actions - to name just a few. 

Now I am pleased to have received another invitation from the ACYCP newsletter to once again provide a column. I have happily accepted. I can't wait to leap upon my well-stomped upon Soapbox once more. Watch the next issue for my first
"From the Soapbox - Again".

Karen VanderVen, Ph.D., 

Professor Emerita Department of Psychology in Education University of Pittsburgh


...and More Horn Tootin'

Karen Vander Ven
, recently retired from the faculty at Pitt but is now more active than ever on behalf of the field of child and youth care work. Vander Ven was recently presented the Pitt Alumni Award. Nominated by the Dean of the School of Education Alan Lesgold , the award is one of the highest honors of the university as the recipients are named by Chancellor Mark Nordenberg.


We're so proud of you, Karen!

Dr. Vander Ven just completed co-coordinating an innovative year writing workshop for after school youth workers at Pitt together with Dr. Sheila Carter-Jones, who recently passed the youth worker certification exam. Vander Ven and Carter-Jones are mentoring and training a new generation of youth work leaders in the art of observing and writing about their front lime experiences with children and youth.. Vander Ven will also be representing the field of youth work on a new experts panel convened by the Center for the Study of Social Policy to identify and recognize exemplary strength-based youth work programs and initiatives across the country.

Vander Ven is known around the world in her collaboration with Martha Mattingly and Carol Stuart to develop the youth work competencies that are used to advance certification. Karen has written more than 400 articles including play and mentoring resources used to train the youth workers in South Africa, Canada, Japan, and many other countries. Here classic article, "You Are What You Do and You Become What You Have Done: The Role of Activity in the Development of the Self" was recently selected by a team of youth work scholars who study the certification domain of Applied Human development to be reprinted as an exemplar for the field in the new edition of the Journal of Child and Youth Care Work.

Vander Ven is also currently working with former National After School Association President Judy Nee to write a new book on activities and play for youth workers who want to deliver evidence-based skills in the programs that they organize to prepare youth for school, work and life. Now Senior Vice President at the Kaplan Company, one of the largest educational suppliers in the world, Nee will publish the book with a whole new line of curricula and toolkits. Vander Ven is noted for proclaiming "let the fun begin" at the start of each new youth worker event. As Karen would advocate, let's remember to have fun and play in all the work that we do this year!!!


Agencies Supporting Professionalism


The Role of Organizations in Promoting 
Professional Child and Youth Care

Organizational contributions to the future and development of the child and youth care field are as important as those of individual practitioners. Professional child and youth care practitioners engage and connect with young people, strive for quality in their work, and take responsibility for their own professional development. The local organizations in which they work can support them through strategic recognition, financial benefits, and opportunities for growth. 

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, where I serve as the training director, is committed to providing quality services to children and families. We show this through our daily work, our agency accreditations, and through working strategically to support the certification of individuals on our staff. As the current president of the Child and Youth Care Certification Board, I am pleased that our leadership and staff embrace a commitment to professional development - including the role of membership in a professional association and professional certification. Initial research with our staff is showing us that the result is an increased level of job satisfaction and increased skill to meet the needs of the children and families we serve. 

Following are a few ideas you might consider using or adapting in your own agency as ways to support the development of the field.


We currently have seventeen certified individuals across our programs - and with many working on the requirements, the number is growing. We celebrate each individual when they are awarded certification with a headline posting on our intranet for every employee across our locations to read. The post often includes a photo, a brief bio, and something about their unique contribution to our organizational mission and goals.
In our program administration office, our training team has created a recognition tree on the wall next to the conference room where our treatment team and individualized education plan meetings are held. The name and position of each certified individual is printed on a colorful leaf attached to the tree. When someone begins the process of certification their name is added at the base of the tree. When they complete their certification, it is moved toward the top of the tree. It provides a daily visual recognition to staff and community members walking past or using the conference room of the role these individuals play in our organization.

Financial Benefits

Individuals who are awarded professional certification from the Child and Youth Care Certification Board and work full time receive an annual pay increase of over $2000. Their effort in meeting the requirements and completing the certification process is a personal commitment we have decided to reward - and we see that investment pay off in the quality of service and interaction they provide our young people and families.

Opportunities for Growth

Over time we expect to include a preference for certification for newly created positions or promotions into lead and supervisory roles. Last year we provided an all-expense paid trip to the International Child and Youth Care Conference, which was awarded to the first place winner of an essay contest open to all certified staff. We also align our preservice and ongoing training with the nationally recognized competencies to provide well-rounded opportunities for increasing knowledge and skills critical to our services.

Organizational support of individuals and the larger field is vital to the future of our work and those we exist to serve. As we continue to share ideas and best practices with each other, together we can make a significant impact across North America. Thank you for the role you are playing in advancing child and youth care in your organization and region.

About the author

James Freeman, MA, CYC-P has been engaged in relational child and youth care and organizational development for over twenty years. He serves as the training director for Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families and is the president of the Child and Youth Care Certification Board. He can be reached at 

Thank A Youth Worker Day! 

will be celebrated on May 2, 2013!

We need your help in making this party even bigger in 2013! Help us celebrate youth and child care workers around the globe.

Here's how you can help spread the word: 

Follow us on Twitter and Friend us on Facebook and be sure to share with your friends.

Visit our website at and be sure to check out our page: 50 Ways to #SayThanks for helpful hints on ways (both big and small) for your organization to say Thank You!

Help spread the word. Visit the website for updates and ideas, or if you have ideas pass them along to us at

Janet Wakefield, The Journey Fellowship
Brian Durand, Indiana Conference of the UMC
Jeff Kreeb, ACYCP Outreach Chair

Past President Shares His
Insights on The Future

All across the United States demographics are changing. Past ACYCP President David Thomas (1998 to 2006) has long advocated for culturally competent care and best practices that meet the needs of children and youth. He recently shared these thoughts for us to consider:

What will children and youth in the United States look like in twenty years? It seems likely there will be proportionately fewer of them. Birth rates have been dropping for decades, reaching a new low of 13.8 per 1,000 in 2009. While fertility rates for Latinas and black women who have lived in the U.S. for years are approaching those of white and Asian women, new immigrants (legal and illegal) plus births to immigrants add some 2.3 million people to the United States each year, accounting for most of the nation's population increase.

America is becoming more culturally and linguistically diverse each year, and we see the same trends among our children and youth. Child and youth care workers will be required to speak their languages, to understand their cultures and to address their needs. Those of us who are developing the child/youth care workforce of the future should pay attention.

David Thomas

Symposium - A Call for Action

A symposium on national certification for child and youth care practitioners, sponsored by three organizations serving children, youth, and families, and California State University Northridge (with support from ACYCP, and the Child and Youth Care Certification Board) was held in the Los Angeles area, March 8, 2013.

The goal of the symposium was to inform and involve area practitioners about national certification as a critical means of strengthening our profession.  Based upon the assessment of participants and the symposium committee, A Blueprint of the process and content was written to encourage others to use or adapt the Blueprint to sponsor symposiums or programs to educate and engage area professionals. 

Download your copy of the Blueprint article here. Become an active advocate for national certification strengthening our profession through collaboration at area and local levels!


ACYCP Advocacy and Policy Committee
A new committee for Advocacy and Policy for youth workers across the country has been launched under the leadership of Quinn Wilder. Wilder has long organized the River West Community in Milwaukee and is one of the leaders of the Youth Care Learning Center at UWM. New members have rolled up their sleeves to tackle some huge goals!

Initial members are: Quinn Wilder, Amanda O'Brien-Brown and Keino Fitzpatrick, Terry Whitfield, Guadalupe (Lupe) Ortiz-Tovar. A few other names are being tossed about but more membership and participation is sought and encouraged. Let Quinn Wilder know if you interested in serving on this valuable committee.
The Policy Committee will work to provide and advocate for accessible, relevant, and high quality professional development opportunities that reflect the skills that service providers will need youth workers to have. Examples from recent trends in the field would be family and community based care and trauma-informed care.

Our strategy will focus first on identifying and developing relationships with likely sources of trends in the field, including national foundations and governmental offices, and distilling and disseminating policy and funding information relevant to our field and to individual youth workers. A coinciding strategy is to identify and pursue funding opportunities to increase our capacity to effectively reach our goals.

Our thinking is currently that the ACYCP as a whole should be a direct resource to individual youth workers as well as to youth serving agencies.

Many youth workers do not have an agency that connects them to education/training resources which could build their professional identities, their skills, and career pathways.

Many agencies that employ youth workers are members of national provider organizations, which supply the organizations with information about field trends and how to adapt to them. But often this information doesn't get to the youth workers. They might get a bit of training reflecting the new trend, but what if they got info from us saying:

"Here is what's coming, and here is how you can prepare. Here are the high quality courses, webinars etc... that can help you get ahead of the curve and possibly become a champion at your organization for this new service delivery paradigm."

This would send a clear message to individual workers that there are opportunities for them to build their careers strategically, based on field trends, and would position ACYCP to be a sort of unique portal for both individuals and organizations to connect their staff to needed skills.
We hope that you have enjoyed this issue of the ACYCP e-newsletter. Again, we welcome any and all feedback from our readers!
The ACYCP Board
New ACYCP T-shirts!!
Place your order today!

 Are you proud to be a  member and a child and  youth care professional?    Well, show it!  We have a  limited number of unique  ACYCP T-shirts available.

 Sizes  Small to XXL!

 To order on-line, follow this  link: PayPal Checkout!

Youth Work Quote
"The soul is healed by being with children."
- Fyodor Dostoyevski -


Quick Links
ACYCP website
CYCCB website

Social Media

Like us on Facebook

View our videos on YouTube

Follow us on Twitter
Special Thanks
ACYCP would like to extend
a Special Thanks to CYCCB for helping to make this newsletter possible.

Feedback Welcome!
ACYCP is excited to hear feedback from our readers!

If you have comments and/or ideas for additional content please feel free to contact the editor,
Suzie Henderson, at

JCYCW New Edition!
Order yours today!